The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I wish I had seen it before

danjose's picture

I wish I had seen it before

I have been baking bread for about 34 years.  The first couple of years I used James Beard's book Beard on Bread.  This was only passable.  Then my wife found Bernard Clayton's book on the breads of France & somewhat later the first edition of his Complete Book of Bread.  I bonded with Bernie, whom I think the world of, and have his old French book plus the latest edition of his Complete Book, which have been my primary sources all this time.  But within the last year or so, my wife found Jeffrey Hamelman's book and gave it to me, and this has changed a lot.  Hamelman is very exacting where Clayton is permissive, but you get the results he promises and the difference is enormous.

     Now I discover this site.  Boy, I wish I had seen the ten points of advice a long time ago.  Particularly that on wet dough; I used always to be adding a lot more flour to the recipe to make the dough easier to handle, and that was a terrific mistake of long standing.  Hamelman insists you not do it, and this has been the major advance I've been able to make.

Anyway I am delighted to make the site's acquaintance.  It looks very inviting.        

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, danjose.

Welcome to TFL!

I'm happy you found us. 

Hamelman's "Bread" is a great resource. You will find a lot of home baker's here who use that book. If you search TFL for one of Hamelman's recipes, the chances are good you will find some one has made it and written about their results.

And please share you own baking experiences here.


pattycakes's picture

I like BBA, but the recipes always require more water than called for--sometimes up to 50% more. Could be that because I live in a dry environment, the flour's dehydrated a bit...But for my money, the Hamelman book is the most reliable; all the recipes work for me exactly as printed.


benjamin's picture

I always have to tinker with BBA recipes as the hydration as written never works for me. Hamelman on the other hand is always spot on. I wonder if this is because he wrote his recipes using king arthur flour (possible since he is the head baker there)... I also use king arthur and so this should elimimate variability.



LindyD's picture

Nice to have you here.

I couldn't agree with you more about Jeffrey Hamelman.   While I have a number of good books on bread, reading his first chapter was my bread epiphany because of its clarity and discussion of techniques not touched on by other authors.  

The education on rye is worth the price of the book alone.

Looking forward to hearing about your bread adventures.


drhowarddrfine's picture

10 points of advice? What 10 points?

Soundman's picture

I think this is what you're after.